The Bills today reached an agreement in a five-year contract with first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller, a league source told The News. Spiller is expected to arrive at training camp about noon. The deal will be worth about $20.8 million in guaranteed money and $37.5 million maximum.
Owner Bob McNair admitted Thursday the Texans are interested in former Buffalo defensive end Aaron Schobel. Schobel, who was waived by the Bills on Wednesday, is a free agent who wants to sign with the Texans if he elects to play a 10th season. Other teams are interested in Schobel. "(General manager) Rick (Smith) is talking with our coaches, and they're evaluating things and trying to determine exactly what role a player like Aaron would fill," McNair said. "We all respect him."
The Seattle Seahawks and their top pick, left tackle Russell Okung, have agreed to a six-year deal, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. Okung, the No. 6 overall pick out of Oklahoma State, gets $30 million guaranteed on a deal worth a maximum $58 million, the source said.
The two words Hakeem Nicks used to describe his feelings about the right knee injury that he sustained and avoided were "blessed" and "happy." The Giants feel the same way. Nicks went down in the last minute of Tuesday evening's practice when he went up for a pass in the end zone working against cornerback Terrell Thomas. "I just came down kind of straight-legged and hyperextended it a little bit," Nicks said yesterday. "It was one of those things that just hurt for a second, but they wanted to check it out to make sure that it wasn't anything serious because it looked a lot worse." In this case, looks were deceiving.
Free agent safety Randy Phillips, who was recently signed when the Detroit Lions released Marquand Manuel, took reps with the No. 1 defense today. Phillips took the position that will be filled by Louis Delmas when he returns. After just a couple of days, Phillips has looked good and it's more than just a case of having fresh legs. Phillips is very active in the secondary and shows good awareness. With Phillips joining the fray, veteran cornerback Dante Wesley is seeing less time at the safety position.
There were no surprises in the arthroscopic surgery Lions kicker Jason Hanson had on his left non-kicking knee Tuesday, and he is expected back for the regular season. Hanson, 40, had the minor procedure to repair cartilage damage. He suffered the injury Monday while planting his foot during a drill. "It was exactly what we thought," coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday. "Everything's fine, and we would expect him back fairly soon. He's not day-to-day, but I think he's definitely on track to begin the season. I don't know what that'll be in training camp. A lot of it depends on how he responds."
Green Bay Packers left guard Daryn Colledge came to camp expecting a fight, and what he got was a controlled sparring match. No one has handed Colledge the starting left guard position, but from the number of snaps he has taken with the No. 1 offense and the amount his main competitor, Jason Spitz, has been moved around, it sure looks as though Colledge is sitting pretty. The only thing he has to do is not screw up. "It's made me feel like it's more or less my job to lose," Colledge said. "But (Allen) Barbre's competing for the job, and Spitz is competing for the job. If they perform better than me, it will be their job."
During the spring, Ron Brace spoke of a renewed focus on conditioning for his second season. He aimed to make more of an impact on the field than his eight tackles in 2009. "I just want to feel like I'm part of it," the Patriots defensive tackle said in March. Instead, the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Brace is on the outside looking in. A source close to Brace said the former Boston College star has missed the first 15 practices because he failed his conditioning test. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio disclosed for the first time that the 2009 second-round pick did not pass a physical, though he did not provide additional details.
There isn't a more heated competition for a starting spot at Dolphins training camp than the one Jake Grove and Joe Berger are in, and they have proof. While other players sporadically move up and down the depth chart every few days, these two centers rotate starts every practice. And if that wasn't bad enough, the coaches promoted Andrew Hartline, a second-year player who was on the practice squad late last season, from the third-team unit to the first-team during Thursday's afternoon session. Considering center the Royal Rumble of position battles, coach Tony Sparano says the toughest man wins this wrestling match because he's looking for a center who brings "physicalness,"…….
Andre Johnson's new contract with the Texans will make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Johnson received a two-year extension worth $38.5 million, including $13 million guaranteed. Counting the five years and $35 million he had left on his old contract, his deal is worth seven years and $73.5 million — an average of $10.5 million a year. The extension means Johnson will be with the Texans through the 2016 season. "This will make him a Texan for life," Texans general manager Rick Smith said. The contract also has incentive bonuses and built-in escalators that can make it even more valuable.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to reporters this morning at Steelers training camp and appeared to leave the door open that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suspension could be fewer than four games. But a spokesman from the NFL in New York later clarified that the suspension will be four games at minimum. Roethlisberger was suspended for the first six games of the regular season with the possibility that it could be reduced to four after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year old Georgia woman in March.
Adrian Peterson sent a subtle message to Vikings management that he wouldn't mind having a conversation about a new contract. During an interview Wednesday morning on KFAN-AM, the Vikings' star running back said he would like to "at least talk about it." Peterson is in the fourth year of a six-year contract worth $40.5 million. "Fans don't understand it, but there's a business side of it," Peterson said. Peterson did not go into specifics and seemed willing to keep the topic from becoming a distraction during training camp at Minnesota State Mankato. "I'll let my agents handle it," he said. Peterson reportedly will earn $3.64 million this season.
LenDale White has always belonged to the Denver family. He is a native son who has made Denver both proud and disappointed. He accomplished much early in life, then started making regrettable mistakes. There were questions about his work ethic, issues about his weight, concerns about the company he kept and, mostly recently, a season-opening, four-game NFL suspension for what White previously admitted was testing positive for marijuana. But just like so many parents who will always, always, unconditionally forgive their own, the Broncos are giving one more chance to the hometown star. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, of all coaches, surprisingly added White to his hamstrung backfield.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Redskins' players Wednesday afternoon, and though he chatted privately with Albert Haynesworth after the team meeting, he did not speak with Santana Moss, who has acknowledged he was treated by a Canadian doctor accused of providing HGH to some clients. Of Haynesworth, Goodell said: "He understands. He wants to get out on that field, he wants to make sure that he's performing as a Redskin. I hope he can do that quickly." Asked if it's a situation that might require the commissioner's intervention, Goodell said he would assist "if I can play a helpful role..."
Dolphins running back Kory Sheets suffered a season-ending injury to his right Achilles' tendon at Wednesday's morning practice, a league source confirmed. Sheets becomes the second Dolphins player in as many weeks to go down for the year with an Achilles' tear. He joins defensive end Phillip Merling, a former second-round pick who was set to enter training camp as a starter. The Dolphins also lost rookie inside linebacker A.J. Edds, a fourth-round draft pick from Iowa, to a season-ending knee injury on Monday. Later Wednesday, the Dolphins placed Sheets on the waived/injured list, meaning he will likely receive a small cash settlement.
Donald Butler was expected to be a big part of all the special teams and battle for significant playing time in his rookie season. But the Chargers lost the linebacker who was their second pick in April's draft to an Achilles' tendon tear that will sideline him for all of 2010. "He's a heck of a kid and a talented guy that I think was going to be a part of what we do," Norv Turner said. "Obviously, we've been through this. We've got to find a way to get the other guys involved. I think we have enough guys in there."
Carolina Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah was back in Charlotte for surgery on his left knee Wednesday, but team officials insisted he should be able to play in the regular-season opener. Otah had arthroscopic surgery, a process that was described by a source close to him as "precautionary" and a minor clean-up. "I think it was a good move and something he'll recover from pretty quickly," Panthers coach John Fox said. Asked if he was confident Otah would be back on the field by Sept. 12 when the Panthers face the New York Giants, Fox said: "As with all injuries, it's hard to predict. But that's the plan."
Offensive lineman Eric Ghiaciuc acknowledged he was surprised to get a call from the Patriots this week. He had been looking for any team to give him a chance at restarting his career. Ghiaciuc (pronounced GUY-check) played four seasons with the Bengals (2005-08), but after his release couldn't stick with a team, and didn't play a snap in 2009. The Patriots, meanwhile, were looking for experience for the interior of their line. Nick Kaczur has not practiced since leaving the field on Day 2 of camp. Kaczur, a right tackle, was filling in at left guard in place of Logan Mankins, who is in a contract dispute with the team.